Raptors sign coach Dwane Casey to three-year contract
The Raptors have signed coach Dwane Casey to a three-year contract that will keep him in Toronto through the 2016-17 season.
The Toronto Star and Yahoo Sports both reported Monday that Casey, whose contract was set to expire this summer, would receive a three-year deal. The team confirmed the deal in a press release on Tuesday.
“From day one last summer Dwane has done an excellent job both on-and-off the court,” Raptors GM Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “There's been growth from each player on the roster and the team's identity of toughness and a desire to always compete has clearly been established. We're very excited to continue to grow and develop this team with Dwane as our head coach.”
Casey, 57, was hired by former Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo in 2011. He entered the 2013-14 season as one of The Point Forward's top "hot seat" picks, as he was in the final year of his contract, the Raptors' roster seemed poised for a shakeup, and he was working for Ujiri, who was hired as Colangelo's replacement in 2013. Despite those trying circumstances, Casey guided the Raptors to a 48-win season and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
After trades sent out the organization's two highest-paid players from last season, Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay, Casey succeeded in refashioning the Raptors in a blue-collar, upstart mold. Kyle Lowry and first-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan both enjoyed breakout years, carrying Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“We have taken some big steps toward our goal of installing a culture and a defensive mindset," Casey said in a statement. “At the same time we realize the challenge ahead in order to complete our quest to build a championship program for the best fans in the NBA.”
The Point Forward cast a "Coach of the Year" vote for Casey. The Nets ultimately eliminated the Raptors by winning Game 7 on Sunday thanks to a game-saving block by Paul Pierce. That it took just one day after the season's conclusion for Casey to receive a new contract is a clear vote of confidence.
DeRozan told reporters at the team's exit interviews on Monday that Casey won over his young roster by taking a consistent approach.
"He's been the same Dwane Casey since he's been here," DeRozan said. "Preached the same thing. Stick to the same principles and they'll work. We did it, and everything came together like he said it would. You have to respect coach Casey, he never changed up."
Lowry, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, said that he fully expected Casey to be re-signed.
"I think [Casey will] be back," he told reporters. "Simple as that. Matter of fact, I’m sure he’ll be back." In three seasons with the Raptors, Casey has compiled a 105-125 (.457) record. His career record, which includes two seasons spent coaching the Timberwolves, is 158-194 (.449).